|Firing in Support of LZ Brillo Pad|
|I am squatting on the (175) 2nd from the right with the light green shirt. Ray Mottis (Chicago) is standing. JB Jordan (Texas) 2nd from left. Jerry Fahrenbruch (Nebraska) died 11/2/00 is 3rd from left.|
I received several emails, photos and letters written home at the time from Steve Sipos, one of the 8" Artillerymen firing support from LZ Bass for the 1/12th in May of 1968. While serving in the the Fire Direction Center, Steve Sipos helped direct the fire of thousands of rounds from the action on the night of 15 May 68.
"We were the 5th Bn 22nd Arty. We formed in the Mojave Desert in June 1967 and trained for 6 months. We shipped out of Long Beach on 5 December 1967 on a troop carrier and arrived in Vietnam on 24 December 1967. We worked primarily for the 4th Division. I participated with the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Cav , the ROKS (soldiers of the Republic of Korea), 101st, 173rd Airborne, 5th Special Forces and 23rd Republic of Vietnam Division out of Song Mao. We were IFFV artillery. Our patch is IFFV."
22 May 68
Fire Base 7
Dear Mom, Dad, Bill & Scout,
Hi, again, I don't remember again as usual when the last time was I wrote. I was going to make a tape tonight but it started to rain just as I was getting ready to go outside the bunker so here I am on paper instead.
You have probably been hearing quite a bit about this place in the papers lately. A friend of mine got a letter from a buddy of his back in the states and he said there was quite a security blackout as to what has been happening west of Kontum. Is this true? Well anyway as the expression goes, "the shit hit the fan" early morning the 15th of May 0250 hrs to be exact. The N.V.A. in this area decided they were going to take over one of our Fire Bases...
...they chose "Brillo Pad", a fire base 4 miles to our southwest. They launched a simultaneous rocket, mortar and recoilless rifle attack on us, fire base 14 and a ground attack on Brillo Pad. Thanks to our ground radar and a bunch of courageous G.I.;s, the rocket, mortar and recoilless rifle positions were destroyed and the ground attack was beaten off. The batteries we control fired close to 2,000 rounds that night and 3 nights following. There have been at least 10,000 artillery rounds fired in support of Brillo Pad in the last 5 or 10 days. The N.V.A. tried again 2 nights later. They fired 21 rockets at us, all of which hit to the west of our perimeter. One of our forward observers spotted the first volley of rockets come off the rocket launchers. He said over his radio "Fire Base 7, I think you have rockets on the way." Sure enough, he was right. Radar on a fire base to our west northwest immediately called...
...in the exact location of the rocket launchers and within 5 minutes our 155 self-propelled had scored a direct hit on them destroying their launchers and supply of un-launched rockets.
I've got a great deal of respect for the Forward Observers and infantry that we have been supporting since getting here. They can be on the verge of being overrun but they all stay calm and even have time to crack a joke in the heat of it all.
EMAILS from Steve Sipos, 5/22nd Artillery:
Able Scorch 13Tango checking in.
I was with the 5th 22nd Artillery. We moved into Polei Kleng on or about 24 March 1968 and pulled out on or about 19 June 1968. I was with the HHB operations section. We ran all the artillery in the Polei Kleng AO including Brillo Pad and LZ Incoming, AKA FSB 14. We were controlling 5 or 6 firing batteries including our C Battery 5th 22nd. We had two 175s and two 8" self-propelled guns.
I pulled the 7:30 PM to 8:00 AM with 2-3 other guys in my section. We fired thousands of rounds in support of the 4th Infantry Division. I have a tape I made one night in April or May when Brillo Pad was getting hit. Mike 40 , Uniform 40, Uniform 50, 49er Echo, Mike 50, Mike 40, Charlie, Mike 43. We were working with Target 43, November 43 and others. We were firing on grid 950 860 which was just about on top of Brillo Pad. We were taking 122's that we ignored (they were dropping just outside the wire) to keep firing in Brillo Pads direction.
Steve Sipos, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Our special thanks to Steve Sipos for supplying us with these photos and personal documents.
1/14th Infantry Vietnam: Firing in support of LZ Brillo Pad
Copyright © 2013 14th Infantry Regiment Association
Documents Copyright © 2013 Steve Sipos
Last modified: April 13, 2013